AT&T has changed the name of its suddenly moribund virtual pay TV service, DirecTV Now, to “AT&T Now.”
The move is being made in conjunction with the rollout of AT&T’s new premium IP-delivered pay TV service, monikered AT&T TV.
“In select markets this summer, we will pilot an all-new connected TV experience with no satellite needed – AT&T TV,” AT&T said in a statement sent to its DirecTV Now customers today. As we roll out this new experience later this summer, current DirecTV Now customers will also see a new name—AT&T TV Now—appear on their screen.
"Both the AT&T TV and AT&T TV Now experiences will be accessed through the same AT&T TV app either on mobile or the big screen. Customer login credentials will determine what content appears," the company adds.
In the wake of AT&T’s $67.1 billion purchase of DirecTV satellite in 2015, the DirecTV brand was central to the company’s ongoing pay TV strategy. But the telecom, which shed nearly 1 million pay TV customers in the second quarter, can’t seem to run away from the DirecTV name fast enough.
Not only did it brand its so-called “thin-client” pay TV service as AT&T TV, it called its new SVOD platform “HBO Max.”
Will DirecTV and Dish Network now combine their struggling satellite TV operations into one standalone company?
More than a decade before AT&T bought it, DirecTV was stopped by regulators from merging with Dish. But regulatory concerns might be ebbing amid markedly decreased relevance and an overall competitive video marketplace.
“It is against this highly competitive backdrop that we now believe regulators could potentially allow for the combination of satellite/DBS players due to its antiquated technology, structural challenges (inability to bundle), as well as the emergence of broadband-delivered video— which is becoming the predominant form of video consumption of late,” wrote JPMorgan analyst Philip Cusick.